From Pieces of the Island Blog: Testimony from Ladies in White

More Testimonies from House Raid Victims: “I was threatened that If I don’t Leave the Ladies in White, They’d Kill Us All” (Read this blog!)

After the brutal house raid which occurred in the home of Lady in White Glisedis Pina Gonzalez in Holguin this past Saturday August 18th, all the detainees have been released.  Three of these activists have shared their testimonies with this blog, offering details of the harassment and threats they endured while being held in police units under the hands of State Security and the political police:

Rosa María Naranjo Nieves
Lady in White

“The mobs of State Security agents broke into the home (…) one officer, in charge of matters with minors, grabbed a 14 year old and arrested her, nearly stripping her of her clothes.  Our response was to protest because of this, and he beat all of us.  Those women who were not hit inside, they were later beat outside by the mobs.  In my case, they punched me on my back and pulled my hair.  They then twisted my arm and shoved me into a police vehicle, which took me to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales.  That was on Saturday, August 18th, in the afternoon and I was held till the morning of Monday, August 20th.

On Saturday night, while I was in the cell, I started to get dizzy and desires to vomit.  I told the guards I felt bad so they took my blood pressure, which was on 210 with 120- very high.  They told me they did not have the medicines to take care of my blood pressure but later ended up giving me something and it went down slightly.  When I had it on 170, they shoved me into the dungeon again”.

Danay Mendiola
Lady in White

“A MININT (Ministry of the Interior) agent whose name I did not get, beat us and applied immobilization locks on us.  They took us in police vehicles.  In the Unit, they beat us more.  They mistreated us, insulted us.  We were taken to the Pedernales Unit and kept there from Saturday to Monday.  We screamed slogans like “Down with hunger”, “Long live Human Rights”, and “Freedom for all political prisoners”.  They mistreated us, we were hungry, and I feel very weak.  In fact, my throat is in pain.  But we are going to keep fighting.  The more repression they carry out against us, the more strength we obtain to continue in the struggle.

A State Security agent known as ‘Chacman’- from Holguin- went to see me in my cell on Monday night and he told me that if we (referring to the Ladies in White) continued to be active, then he, and others, were going to kill us, because we are ‘counter-revolutionaries’.  He asked me what I gained with doing what I do.  I told him the only purpose was for the freedom of Cuba, and that if they keep repressing us, we were going to get more strength.  We are under total threats, every single Lady in White from Holguin province.

Chacman threatened me again, saying that if I did not leave the Ladies in White, he was going to kill us all, little by little, and slowly.  This happened on Monday.  He went to my cell to tell me this”.

Alexei Jiménez Almarades
Independent journalist

“I am the husband of Lady in White Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo.  I had left my wife in the Glisedis’ house that afternoon, and when I returned to pick her up, I noticed that the entire entrance of the house was surrounded by mobs, organized by State Security.  A minor was accompanying me- my wife’s 16 year old female cousin.  The mobs violently rushed at us.  What was interesting, though, was that State Security alleged that the mobs were everyday neighbors, but it is obvious that this mobs were manipulated and sent by the counter-intelligence Department of Holguin.

I was aggressively attacked, they hit me on my arms, on my ribs, and I thank God that I was wearing a helmet for my bicycle.  They grabbed sticks and hit me with them, but the helmet protected me.

Afterward, once the women were detained, I directed myself to the State Security Unit at around 12 AM to demand them that they release all the detainees.  The agent known as ‘The Polish’ came out.  He quickly called a police car and they detained me.  Once detained, I remained in protest and on hunger strike, demanding freedom for the detained activists”.

From “Pieces of the Island” (English) / “Pedazos de la Isla” (Spanish)

Translating Cuba readers:  Pedazos/Pieces is a must-read blog; it reports news from Cuba in real-time, much of it reported out by telephone from activists on the island, focusing on eastern Cuba — the Oriente.

25 August 2012